Jewish Funeral Arrangements: Burial Or Cremation?

Jewish Funeral Arrangements: Burial Or Cremation?

There are difficult decisions one must face when making Jewish funeral service arrangements, whether for them or a loved one that has recently passed. At Jewish Direct Burial and Cremation Services, we serve all Jewish denominations and want to inform you about our funeral arrangement services – from the most Orthodox traditional Jewish burials, to cremations for the most liberal Jewish denominations. We simply want to inform you about the services we offer, leaving you to choose what rituals you would like to observe at your or your loved one’s funeral.

Earth burial is a custom that dates back to Biblical times. The following rituals are observed during a traditional Jewish burial:

  • Aron – The simple wooden burial casket.
  • Keriah – The rending or ripping of the mourners’ garments.
  • Shemira – The watching of the remains until burial.
  • Taharah – The traditional washing and dressing of the deceased.
  • Tachrichim – The traditional white burial shroud.

Choosing a traditional Jewish burial declares, “I may not have been a perfect Jew, but I am a proud one. And I want to be buried as Jews have been for thousands of years. I owe it to my ancestors. I owe it to my descendants. I owe it to my body – and I owe it to my soul.” The human body belongs to G-d, according to Jewish beliefs. Providing a proper Jewish burial is thought of as an act that provides the soul great comfort during its transition to the spiritual world. After death when the body is buried in the ground it allows the body to return to earth.

Reform Judaism is a progressive branch of Judaism that still favors burial, but does not oppose cremation. Over the years, an increasing number of Jews have chosen cremation over traditional burial. Cremation was once viewed by many as an act that defied Jewish law; however, today it is becoming more acceptable as families continue to request this type of funeral arrangement. There is no clear cut prohibition of cremation in the halachic literature, according to the “Ask a Rabbi” section on the Reform Judaism website. For Reform rabbis cremation does not necessarily contravene the law, and therefore, they will officiate at the cremation to honor the final wishes of the deceased and the deceased’s family.

Burial and cremation are both viable options when planning final funeral arrangements. Ultimately, what works best for you and your loved one is the best decision to make. Money, mobility, space, and other factors may persuade you to choose cremation over burial. Just as religious or environmental reasons may persuade you to choose burial over cremation. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jewish Direct Burial and Cremation Services at 561-609-2503. We understand this is a sensitive topic to talk about, and we are ready to help you every step of the way.